Chism went home over the weekend to discuss the situation with his mother. He came back and asked Ralph his opinion.
“You’ll be a lot better your fifth year than you are right now, but I think down the road I might have to play you,” Friedgen replied. “I just want you to understand that. If I need you to play to win a game, I don’t care if it’s the eighth game, I’m going to do it.”
Chism answered that he’d like to try to redshirt before adding, “I’ll be ready if you need me.”
If he does eventually make it on the field, he’d be part of a large group of freshmen who would play. Tailback Davin Meggett will definitely play, as will safety Kenny Tate. Defensive tackle A.J. Francis will probably be pressed into duty, and Friedgen seems pleased with tight end Matt Furstenburg.
There are two other fascinating possibilites. Friedgen is committed to investing time in guard Justin Lewis; whether that means playing time by midseason isn’t quite certain yet.
Another freshman who appears likely to play is linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield. Friedgen said Hartsfield told him he would like to play on special teams, and that Hartsfield has been especially effective on the scout team.
It’s tough to blame a guy like Hartsfield who arrived in College Park in time for spring practice for wanting to get on the field. Most people wouldn’t give up their final semester of high school simply to not play the following fall, and it’s tough to say no to a kid who is apparently ready to play.
Hartsfield might not be a guy who is covering kickoffs or trying to block punts against Delaware. But it might not be long before that sort of scenario comes to fruition.